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Jooste gets tough on parastatals, introduces new governance act

Jooste gets tough on parastatals, introduces new governance act

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste this week introduced the Public Enterprises Governance Act of 2019, which will monitor the efficient governance, performance and restructuring of parastatals.

According to the new act, board members of non-commercial public enterprises and extra-budgetary funds will be appointed by the line ministers, while board members of commercial public enterprises are appointed by the minister of public enterprises in consultation with cabinet.

The act also outlines that a person will only be allowed to serve on two boards of public enterprises and subsequently allows for the removal of board members in cases of non-performance.

The act stipulates that the minister will enter into performance agreements with each individual board member and the key performance indicators will be directly aligned to those of integrated strategic business plans.

“The Act allows for the removal of board members in cases of non-performance. Failure of the CEO and senior management to comply with the provisions of performance agreements will constitute grounds for his or her dismissal unless such failure was caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond their control,” Jooste said.

In giving special powers to the minister of public enterprises, the act further provides the minister with the power to direct special investigations in relation to any matter concerning the business, trade, dealings, affairs, assets or liabilities of a public enterprise.

Regarding subsidiaries created by public enterprises, the act allows the Minister to impose obligations of any public enterprise in relation to any matter with a view to achieve the efficient governance of the subsidiary and the monitoring of its performance and the performance of the Board and senior management of the subsidiary.

“We plan to pay special attention to subsidiaries and will request full disclosure of relevant subsidiary information from all public enterprises,” Jooste added.

Jooste further said that as minister of public enterprises, he can only identify a public enterprise to be considered for restructuring in consultation with Cabinet.

“I want this to be noted to allay any fears that the Minister will have the power to unilaterally embark on a restructuring without it requiring Cabinet approval. When any restructuring is contemplated, we are bound by the Act to take into account the purpose for which the public enterprise was created, a risk assessment and impact report, the performance of the public enterprise, the reasons for restructuring and any representations made by any relevant stakeholder,” he explained.

Jooste stressed that the successful reform of parastatals is a non-negotiable element that has become critical to ensure that the current economic downturn is countered as soon as possible.

“I believe that economic recovery will be all but impossible without calculated but expedited public enterprise reforms to increase profitability, contain and minimize subsidies and to entirely cease bailouts as soon as practical.” Jooste said.


 

About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.